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Bear with me: Sun Bear @ParkTheatre

If The Light House is an uplifting tale of survival, Sarah Richardson’s Sun Bear gives a contrasting take on this. Sarah plays Katy. We’re introduced to Katy as she runs through a list of pet office peeves with her endlessly perky coworkers, particularly about coworkers stealing her pens. It’s a hilarious opening monologue that would have you wishing you had her as a coworker to help relieve you from the boredom of petty office politics.  But something is not quite right in the perfect petty office, where people work together well. And that is her. And despite her protesting that she is fine, the pet peeves and the outbursts are becoming more frequent. As the piece progresses, maybe the problem lies in a past relationship, where Katy had to be home by a particular hour, not stay out late with office colleagues and not be drunk enough not to answer his calls. Perhaps the perky office colleagues are trying to help, and perhaps Katy is trying to reach out for help. It has simple staging

Play that song again: Blind Man's Song @ThePleasance

Theatre Re's Blind Man's Song is a fascinating meditation on the subject of dreams and immagination. For just over an hour you are mostly entranced by the story unfolding before you.

As the theatre opens you are informed that the best views were from the back of the theatre. This was intriguing (and counter-intuitive). But here the seating has been reduced at The Pleasance, making the space more intimate than usual.

Taking my seat, I couldn't help but notice the eerie haze that hung over the stage at the begining. What space were we staring at?

The main character, a blind musician soon enters. The space turns out to be his room. He is tapping about to find his way and soon this becomes the soundtrack.

As he lies down on his bed, alone, a man and woman appear. Are they his immagination? Are they the life he wants to lead? It is all up for speculation as physical theatre, mime, sounds and illusion combine to tell a series of stories about love, hope and mystery.

The piece took inspiration from interviews with blind and visually impaired people. It's strength is in its power to communicate without words.

You are drawn into the world through the minimalist soundtrack performed on stage by Alex Judd. He is the blind man. It amplifies noises onstage reflecting the world of the visually impaired. A loop pedal combines these sounds with violin and keyboard.

Music and movement become dreamlike. Although being minimalist music it at times felt a bit like a recurring dream... Not all the segments felt unique and some of the wonderment was lost as the piece progresses. At times you get the sense that you had already seen that.

But perhaps this is the point of it all and part of the frustration of minimalism, and being blind. Employing various theatrical tricks, director, conceiver and performer Guillaume Pigé along with his co-performer Selma Roth elegantly move about. Their faces shielded from view. But you also get the sense that this work could be more.

The piece debuted at the 2015 International Mime Festival and is at The Pleasance until 15 May. Dates follow in May in Hereford, Oxford, Chippenham and Liverpool before they head to Germany and France.


Photo credit: Richard Davenport

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